Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Another "Giant Leap For Humankind": TV-B-Gone!

All it does is turn television sets off (and now, optionally, on).

Techies like to talk about designing simplified software or devices that only do one thing, really well, despite the fact that consumers evidently prefer to buy clumsy, uneven products that promise to do everything you’ll ever need (
SUVs, the “cell phone/music player/camera/web browser/micro-movie theater/GPS tracker,” MS Office...) But here’s the device that fairly defines simplicity, and in an added Thoreavian kick, offers to return a little peace and quiet to your harried life:

“Your TV-B-Gone® universal remote control resembles other TV remote controls, but is different in two important ways. First, it only has a power button that allows you to switch a TV on or off.”

“You can use TV-B-Gone® to control access to television for philosophical or practical reasons, or simply to have fun!“

—Mitch Altman, Inventor of TV-B-Gone®
Ever turned off a television that no one around was watching, and noticed that nobody noticed? But you actually did those people a favor. Subtly but definitely you helped reduce the amount of noise in their environment, with its attendant stress and drain on their biophysical components.

You see, unlike even the most insistent conversationalists you know – the ones who never seem to stop – the television does not even have to pause for a quick breath; in fact, they even edit the breaths out of the announcers' spiels. A TV never needs to sleep, either; it requires only that lifeline of electrical connection to literally continue to yell at you, vocally and visually, 24/7/365.25 (accounting for leap years).

Stress, the professional health and medical fields agree, is the number one cause of physical malfunction in "advanced" societies. Television run wild is not merely a proven source of stress, it’s practically the poster child of stress-sources! So, by putting the TV-B-Gone to prudent use -- "Click Responsibly" – you may actually be doing a significant service towards promoting the general public health.

(And we’re only half kidding.)

Trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas this year? (This question is addressed to a very small of group of people, some of which I share a last name with.) This is it. A TV-B-Gone would let me feel like Robin Hood; it'd be my bow and arrow.

And I'll really find it handy for some of the restaurants I otherwise like.

Note on the title:
(We’ve tweaked an historic quote there, but are sure that if Neil Armstrong had first set foot up yonder in recent times, he’d have put it that way. Kudos and appreciations to Mr. Armstrong, btw, for realizing that was a hugely historical moment, and rising to the occasion. He could have just said, "Roger, Houston, that's a big 10-4, we have touch-down," or something equally dull and functional.)
Related, on
"It's a Loud, Loud World"

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